Corey Gilgan, Chapter House Capital
Chapter House Capital, Current Searcher, Self-Funded
Survey completed September 18, 2020.
Why did you choose your model? Would you make the same choice again?
Geographic restriction; good economics with the SBA 7a loan. I also was attracted to the independence and autonomy. Yes, I would make the same choice.
Are you searching with a partner? If so, why did you choose them? How did you find them? If not, why did you choose to search solo?
I’m searching solo. Because I’m geographically focused on the PNW while I live in California it would have been much harder to find a partner.
When is the right time to start speaking with investors? How did you select your search and/or acquisition investors?
It’s probably never early enough to find investors that invest in your style of business, deal structure and size.
Did you get an MBA before searching? If so, where and why?
Yes, I went to Cornell. I was leaving the Army and used business school to transition and learn more about what I would be interested in for a career. I didn’t learn about search until several years after business school.
What is your work experience prior to searching?
I was a Field Artillery Officer in the US Army; Global Supply Chain Manager at Apple working on Cameras, and an Operations, Product and Supply Executive at two startups in San Francisco.
What industries and sizes of companies are you pursuing?
B2B Services, Niche Manufacturing; “Blue Collar” Trades service companies; 550k to 1.5 EBITDA.
Are you doing a geographically focused search? If so, where?
How long have you been searching?
What systems do you use? (CRM, Email Manager, etc)
How do you organize your day?
Meetings set the tone; prioritize other work week to week.
How do you identify prospects to acquire? Do you use only brokers, only direct outreach, or both?
Approximately how many direct outreach calls and emails have you made to owners?
Several thousand unique emails, then lots of drip campaign follow ups. Not too many direct calls.
How do you find company lists?
AtoZ database, conference lists.
Do you subscribe to broker deal lists? Which ones?
Do you use interns? If so, how many? What do you have them do?
Yes, 1. Company evaluation, data input. Bounce ideas.
Approximately how many deals have you reviewed?
300 if you count when I was doing this part time.
How many companies have you gotten to the LOI stage with? How long before your first one?
What has been the most challenging part of your search? What was harder/easier than you expected?
Good Data / Information. Harder.
What articles, books, and resources were most helpful to you in preparing to search?
Searchfunder.com Polsky ETA Podcast, HBR Guide to Buying a Small Business, Buy then Build, Jim Stein Sharp Blog, Think Like an Owner Podcast (nice work) has been great.
What do you wish you knew prior to searching?
I think I was well informed, but could have used a refresher in accounting and financial modeling. I have mostly an operations, program and product management experience.
What single piece of advice would you share with prospective searchers?
There are a lot of early lessons to learn, both from fellow searchers and other parties (bankers, brokers, lawyers), so just reach out and be curious.